Int’l Palestinian campaign slams Israel for hijacking spirit of humanity boat
|Wednesday, July 1,2009 08:21|
The international Palestinian campaign against the siege on Tuesday strongly denounced the IOF troops for attacking the spirit of humanity boat and towing it to an Israeli port as it was trying to enter the territorial waters of Gaza, describing this behavior as an act of piracy.
In a statement, the campaign noted that the boat was carrying humanitarian aid and multinational activists including Nobel prize laureate Mairead Maguire and former US congresswoman Cynthia McKinney.
The campaign said such act was not alien to Israel which violated all international conventions, killed civilians and children and bombed medical crews and civil institutions.
The campaign held Israel fully responsible for the lives and safety of the Free Gaza activists aboard the boat, appealing to the international community to intervene to get the activists released and enable them to return safely to their homes or allow them to reach the besieged Gaza Strip to pursue their humanitarian mission.
In another statement, the campaign reported it received this morning a telephone call from Free Gaza organizer Huwaida Arraf saying the boat was 24 miles off the coast of Gaza when it was intercepted and hijacked by Israeli gunboats.
In a press statement to the PIC, spokesman for the Palestinian government in Gaza Taher Al-Nunu held Israel fully responsible for the lives of the Free Gaza activists, condemning what happened as a cowardly act of piracy.
Spokesman Nunu said that this incident reflected the barbarism of Israel and its violation of all international laws and conventions, highlighting that such Israeli practices would not succeed in discouraging growing international attempts to break the unjust siege on Gaza.
In the same context, the Free Gaza team in Cyprus reported receiving a cellphone call from boat passengers saying that the Israeli navy had surrounded the boat and was pointing guns at all the passengers. In the background, they reported hearing organizer Huwaida Arraf shouting at Israeli naval soldiers, "You cannot open fire on unarmed civilians", and repeating this statement a number of times.
Former US Green party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney, who is a passenger on the boat, stated, "I am extremely angry. We demand that the Israeli government call off their attack dogs. We are unarmed civilians aboard an unarmed boat delivering medical and reconstruction aid to other human beings in Gaza. Why in God"s name would Israel want to attack us and threaten our safety and welfare? I call on president Obama and the international community to intervene now to prevent this situation from escalating with potentially drastic results to the civilians on board."